Friday, September 27, 2013

FAQ's FRIDAY! "What piece of advice do you offer that seller's resist the most?"

Happy Friday, y'all!  It is a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L day in 'Raleighwood'!  I've been working in my studio and outside in the yard.  Don't ya just love fall!
A simple and lovely window treatment from Pottery Barn

What piece of advice do seller's resist the most?
Home owners are most resistant to removing dated and/or fussy window treatments. Their belief is that since they paid big bucks for fabric and labor that the window treatments add value to their house.  Wrong-y Dong-y.  Custom window treatments are typically only of value to the people who bought them.  Custom window treatments were purchased to coordinate with the seller's taste and decor.  It is highly unlikely that the new owner's style be the same as the sellers.  (Especially true, if the sellers are retiring and downsizing their family home to much younger buyers.)

House hunters are buying:
  • the windows
  • the view
  • the sunlight (really--their is never enough lightness and brightness to a room)

Here are a few examples of what I am talking about from houses I consulted on.

 So how do I tell seller's their window treatments need to come down? 

"While your window treatments are lovely and no doubt costly, they probably won't transfer to the new buyers furnishings. Also, we are selling the beautiful view of (insert view) your backyard and want as much sunlight streaming in as possible.  Why don't you consider prepacking the drapes for your new house?  Often, you can have them tailored to fit other windows."

Have a wonderful weekend, my lovelies!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

FRIDAY FAQs! "Do You Ever Not Stage a House?"

Do you ever consult on a house and recommend it not be staged?

I frequently turn down staging opportunities.  It's not the proactive approach I was taught to get my staging accreditation.  I don't try and close the client on staging.  My goal is always to get the house sold.  I want the home seller to get the most bang for their buck.

I don't write a proposal to stage if a client is on a limited budget and has outdated appliances, worn carpet, dated wallpaper, a wreck of a yard, etc. I would rather the seller's put their money into updates than pay me to stage. I have a library of good contractors that I will recommend.

I will not stage a house that is dirty and in disarray.  I figure if they don't take care of their own belongings, they won't take care of my nice accessories.  I've lost a few Realtors because of my refusal to stage nasty properties!

Also, I don't follow the "I'll stage as little or as much as you want" philosophy.  I prefer to stage an entire house--not just a few areas. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We Aren't in Mayberry Anymore. A Cautionary Tale


Today started out like any other day.  I took Izzie to the park for a walk.  We swung around to the vacant tennis courts and hit the jackpot--3 abandoned tennis balls!  Izzie chased them until she surrendered, stretched out as a bear-rug-panting-lump on the court.  Time to head home.

I decided to stop by my neighbor's house and leave our bounty of balls in her mailbox.  Virginia's dog, Waldo, lives for tennis balls.  When I pulled into the driveway, Jim, (V's husband) was outside on his phone pacing back and forth.  He gave me the #1 index finger salute. You know, the universal sign of mothers? The finger that says, "I see you.  I'll be with you in a minute. Please wait but don't bother me just now."  I decide to play with the dogs.

As I threw a ball, I overheard Jim say, " intruder in our house...". Holy Moly! He was on a 911 call! Seems Jim made a random stop by home.  As he entered, he heard the screen door slam. The intruder ran out the back door and vanished like smoke in the wind.

No one was hurt.  Nothing was taken. I only write this as an alert. Monitor your neighborhood and lock your doors.  As the sheriff told me, "you think you are safe because this is a nice neighborhood--but you are not."

I am the Community Watch block captain for my end of the neighborhood (stop laughing!).  Every neighbor I contacted with the news said, "well you know, we don't lock our doors".  Times they are a changing 'round here....

We aren't in Mayberry anymore.

Friday, September 13, 2013

FAQ's Friday! What Do You Mean, "Closets Are Money" When Selling My House?

Yes! Yes! Yes!  Buyers covet spacious storage.  Closets are money in your pocket when selling your house.
Buyers are literally buying into a lifestyle.  Buyers have dreams that when they move into your house their lives will be dramatically different. They fantasize that they will finally become organized.  Buyers yearn for a place for everything and everything in its place. "In the new house..."  buyers want to believe, their lives will be Martha Stewart-perfect.

Closets are money because buyers love spacious storage.  There never is, and never will be, too much storage space.  We are a society of accumulators.  Buyers assume that if there is not enough space for your stuff; there is not going to be enough space for theirs.
It doesn't cost anything to clear, organize and stage your closets.  Smart money, I say.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pee Eww -- What do you do?

If you have kids, pets, upholstered furniture, carpet, rugs, pillows, cook in the kitchen or use the bathroom, produce trash, or wear clothes you have the potential for H.O. = Home Odor.
The best smell is no smell when it comes to selling your house.  No Plugins, pleeeease!  Their overpowering sticky-sweet florals are a turn off.  (How did the inventor of Plugins get past the Sharks?)

While most homes don't smell offensive, it doesn't hurt to be proactive. Prophylactic air care is what I say! I don't think I have ever walked into a Master Suite Closet that didn't have the owner's personal H.O. We all have unique chemistry and it resides within our clothes and shoes.

Part of my job as a stager is to research products to help my clients. I've tried all manner of odor eliminators.  For the sake of brevity, I shant list them all. Formerly, I recommended Renuzit Pure Breeze Odor Neutralizer ($3.49).  Now, I have found one that, in the words of Tina Turner, "Is the best. Is simply the best. Better than all the rest." 

Drum roll:

Zep commercial
Air & Fabric Odor Eliminator
"Eliminates odors in the air and on surfaces, leaving a fresh scent"

Izzie, my Malti-Poo, and I are partial to the "Blue Sky" fragrance.  I've never smelled the sky, but apparently someone has and decided to bottle it.


Izzie doesn't run under the bed and hide when I twirl around the house spritzing Zep.  I think she appreciates the smell of the sky in the house as well.

I bought my Zep air freshener at Home Depot for only $2.98! 

Let Me Know
If you've found an air freshener that you prefer, by all means, let me know.  If you care to hear about  some of my other product picks, let me know.  If you want me to stop posting about the boring business of air fresheners, let me know.

(Nope.  The folks at Zep didn't pay me for this fine endorsement.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Musings: What You Look at is What You See


What you look at IS what you see.

I have a new acquaintance.  She is  sweet, outgoing and personable.  However, she is consumed with tales of woe about her life.  Her ex-husband takes advantage of her, people owe her money, her daughter is a disrespectful mess, her house is falling apart, and she's gaining weight.

I listen then try to gently change guide the conversation in another direction.  I don't want to add energy to her sad stories.

I wish she realized that whatever she is looking at--all the negative things in her life--is all that she sees.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Great Smokey Mountains of NC

My family used to visit an elderly relative.  Oh, how I wished she was a sweet, little ole lady.  Wrong-y Dong-y.  This lady was a self-absorbed, angry woman and mean as a rattle snake.  Lordy, how I dreaded those visits.

One visit, I decided to focus on the beautiful scenery on the ride to visit her.  I decided to be grateful for a good meal that I didn't have to prepare or clean up after. I focused on forgiveness. Certainly something had happened in her life to make her so bitter.  I decided not to 'bite' when she would bait me. I smiled and let her words hang in the air, then disintegrate .  Like a pillow fight, it takes two to participate.

I finally realized that I had control of what I chose to see.

Do you find what you look at is what you see? 
Happy Sunday, y'all.

Friday, September 6, 2013

FAQ's FRIDAY! What about Pets When I'm Selling My House??

Kate, Will, George and Lupo
Thanks for your feedback on posting a series on Frequently Asked Questions.  I think Friday is a good day for posting FAQ's (mainly because I love alliteration--'frequently and Friday" appeals to me).

I have to start this series with a disclaimer.  I constantly contradict myself.  Every house is different, every seller unique, and the target buyer varies.  I stage in specifics and speak in generalities--if that makes sense?

What about pets when I'm selling my house?
My staging accreditation class taught that animals and selling a house is not a good mix.  I used to tell clients to board their pets or see if a friend or family member could adopt their animal--at least the first few weeks the house is on the market.

I have backed off on asking sellers to remove their pets.

Over 60% of Americans have pets.  Americans are animal-lovers.  The majority of the houses I consult on are family houses.  Families typically have pets.  In my experience, seller's adore their pets and will bend over backwards to assure that their pets do not impede the sale of their house.  They scoop, spray, brush, and scrub. They hide dishes, toys, meds and beds.

Perhaps it is my clientele, but the pets I see are taken care about as well as Prince Georgy.

Pet owners take care of their homes and their pets.  Even the owners of Golden Retrievers get that they have to remove the tumble weeds of fur that blow through the house.
I've encountered more problems with stinky Diaper Gene's than dirty cat litter.
Groucho & Jazz

I had a client that rescued dogs.  These sellers rescued Newfoundlands! (18 rescues the day I visited.)  Newfoundlands are big, big dogs with big, big fur and big, big poop.  These sellers knew that they had  a lot of work to do to prep the house and yard.  They moved the dogs to other property they owned--so it all worked out and the house sold.

Seller's prefer this:
Can't remember this fellows name

Over this:
Happy Friday, y'all.  Hope you enjoyed the first installment of Frequently Asked Questions!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kaboom on this Dining Room "Staging"

A question I get asked a lot is, "what has changed the most since you started staging (in 2003)?"

One thing that has changed is the Dining Room.  Dining rooms used to be used strictly for a grand table and chairs, china cabinet, buffet, etc.  Now, dining rooms are used for offices, music rooms, and small family rooms.  Today's buyer 'gets it' that the space can be converted back to a dining room if they chose to use it for its designed purpose.

Our dining room is my husband's man cave.  We have a small home.  A dining room would not be used enough to warrant its own dedicated space.  But, oh Lordy, how I covet dining rooms.  I consult on houses and drool over people's good fortune to have a DR.

Isn't this a beauty?
A Perfect Union
This one is beach-y cute.
Southern Living

Now, I digress.....

I consulted on a house and the dining room looks like this.
I mentioned that the chandelier, while beautiful, was a bit formal for the furniture in the room.  I suggested that it be replaced with the chandelier that was originally installed and coordinates with light fixtures in the rest of the house.  The seller was receptive to this idea.  I then broached the subject of the table and chairs being on a diagonal and the china cabinet being crowded into the corner.  "The other stager did that."  (The house has been on the market for a year and not sold.) 

"Really?" says me.

OK, lovelies in what universe does this furniture configuration look right?  I'm mortified that a stager (or anybody with an ounce of sense) would tell the seller this looks good! And, don't get me started on that red vinyl tablecloth....

I'm thinking about starting a series on Frequently Asked Questions about staging.

What do ya think?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Musings: Lovin' Me Some Labor Day!

Sand Woman-Herb Wris

Happy Labor Day Weekend my lovelies!

I'm doing the happy dance that it is Labor Day Weekend.

True confession:  August is my least fav month.  I'm not a hot weather gal.  The relentless rain and humidity made it mo' uncomfortable than usual this August.  And the rain brought a record setting plethora of mosquitoes.
I'm an allergic to mosquito bites. Really allergic. I swell with red itchy welts and scratch until I need a tourniquet. Friends and fam commiserate but snicker at my freaky condition. Off! and cortisone cream are my fragrance for summer.  I'm the opening act at deck parties and cookouts.

And, let's talk clothes, shall we?  Awww....if we all had Sand Woman's magnificent body.

In the summer, I can't cover up my road map vein-y legs. Shorts, even Capri's, are not my friends.  My bat wing upper arms sway to and fro with no sweater to house them.  Until Nichole Miller designs a neck-to-knee swimsuit, my pizza dough thighs will jig-jig-jiggle on the long walk from my deck chair to the water. 

I'm not being hard on myself.  Facts is facts. Ya can't camo flaws in hot weather.

Bye-bye August!  No long shall you zap my energy!

I look forward to sweaters, sweat shirts, jeans, leggings, tights, jackets, scarves, fires, and football.

Happy Fall y'all!